On December 12, 2019, Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball players Union made a joint announcement saying that they have agreed to remove cannabis from the list of banned substances.
This announcement comes off the heels of the players and league negotiating a more hands-on treatment based model instead of inflicting penalties on players who violate the leagues' drug policy. Though this is a significant step in the right direction for cannabis, the league union did add several other substances to the banned substances list. The league will now focus its drug testing more towards cocaine, opioid, and synthetic cannabinoids usage and referring players for the treatment of those substances abused.
In a recent press release, the MLB stated:
"Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties' Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides for mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player's Club or the Commissioner's Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids."
Also, the players will have to participate in educational programs on "the dangers of opioid pain medications and practical approaches to marijuana," says the MLB.
These changes will take effect at the start of the 2020 Spring Training.
The call for the MLB's drug reform comes after the loss of 27- year old Anaheim Angels Pitcher, Tyler Skaggs of a drug overdose during an away game in Texas.
Tyler Skaggs died in his hotel room on July 1, from a lethal mixture of alcohol, fentanyl, and oxycodone, causing the Angels pitcher to choke on his vomit while under the influence.
MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem states:
"The opioid epidemic in our country is an issue of significant concern to Major League Baseball." "It is our hope that this agreement—which is based on principles of prevention, treatment, awareness, and education—will help protect the health and safety of our Players."
The MLB is known for being progressive with the drug reform as the times change, but it seems its other sports league comrades are not as open-minded to the changes.
The World Doping Agency cleared athletes to use CBD in 2017.